UK bank challenger Cashplus has announced the launch of a card gambling block feature, enabling customers to ‘switch off’ all transactions with bookmakers, casinos and other gambling merchants.
The firm, which has over 1.5m registered customers in the UK, has made its current account gambling block feature available as a ‘one-click’ option within its websites and apps.
This feature aims to provide a further point of ‘friction’ for consumers when used in conjunction with the gambling block; the company has
also introduced an ATM withdrawal block.
Lord Chadlington, former Chairman of Action on Addiction and long-time campaigner on safer gambling commented: “I’m pleased that firms like Cashplus and others are taking positive action to protect those at risk.
“Action is urgently needed on gambling with credit, so voluntary restrictions from banks and other providers are a welcome first step.”
Gambling with credit is seen as an important issue by many campaign groups and also the UK government.
Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright recently requested an industry consultation to be carried out in the coming months
He said in January: “Protecting people from the risks of gambling related harm is vital and all businesses with connections to gambling – be that bookmakers, social media platforms or banks – must be socially responsible.
“The government will not hesitate to act if businesses don’t continue to make progress in this area and do all they can to ensure vulnerable people are protected.”
Initially, the credit card blocking tool is available by request through Cashplus’ telephone service centre. The tool can be used for personal and business credit cards, meaning business owners can prevent company credit being used for gambling by fraud or misuse.
Tony Franklin, a campaigner for Gambling Hurts, explained that the number of gambling addicts in the UK is estimated at 430,000, with a further 2m at risk, and he believes this functionality can offer “real and practical help” for people in need.
He continued: “I’m delighted that Cashplus is leading the way with credit card blocking and offering customers an easier way to restrict gambling transactions from their current accounts and now from their credit card as well.
“This functionality, along with the possibility to restrict ATM withdrawals within its app, shows a welcome commitment to helping customers take control of their finances.
In the announcement, Cashplus claim this move is an industry first however similar actions were seen last year by Starling Bank and Monzo.
Founded in 2005, Cashplus describes itself as “Fast. Simple. Smart”, aiming to be a more convenient alternative to older banking systems.
Cashplus Chief Operating Officer, Paul Schooley said: “There is a wider discussion around credit and gambling, but our role is to offer choice where customers want or need it. We believe better banking services can genuinely improve everyday life and we’ll continue to work hard on building features that make a difference.”
“The new credit card block, in-app current account blocking and the ATM withdrawal blocker all offer customers easy ways to restrict gambling spending, whether that’s a person struggling with addiction or someone who wants to safeguard their business.”